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Dyeing Some Waste

Dyeing Some Waste

Dyeing some waste.  Throwsters waste that is and I suppose it must have been trash at some point or they wouldn’t call it that. Throwing is was they call reeling silk for thread and this is the left over little bits.  I have a batch of white and needed some colours for a project.  The pictures of wet silk an bags did not turn out but I have some nice pictures of the end.

I dyed small amounts in plastic sandwich bags. First I placed each blob of waste  in a bag and added some soapy water to get it wet. I let it sit to soak while I got the dye ready. I used MX dye as it would be the fastest and easiest. I poured of the extra water out then poured in the dye,  just enough to get it all wet. I squished it around in the bag to make sure it all got dye.  No worries about felting the silk, a nice change from dyeing wool.  I did the same for all the colours and let them sit for 10 min. I added a solution of PH up and water. Buying the pool chemical is the cheapest way to buy Sodium Carbonate, especially at the end of the season.

I made a solution and poured in enough to cover the silk. I let it sit for about half an hour then drained and rinsed the silk. Here is what it looks like drying on my front porch.

Throwsters Waste Drying

Not so great looking. I had squeezed all the extra water out of them. However after they were dry I fluffed them up and they look like this.

Fluffed up
Second Half All Fluffed Up

As you can see fluffed up they barely fit on the same drying rack in 2 batches. My project didn’t work out, the waste I used  on the surface sank into the courser wool I was using and disappeared so I have nothing to show you right now. I am planing to use some more on hats so I will do a post with them later.


Dyeing Silk with MX Dye

Dyeing Silk with MX Dye

I dye my own silk and one of the ways I do that is with MX dye. MX Dye is a fiber reactive dye and works on cellulose or plant fibers like cotton , linen and hemp. It also works on silk. As far as I know silk is the only fiber that you can use both weak acid dyes that are for protein fibers and the MX dyes on.

Scarves blowing in the wind.

I like to use the low water dye method. With this method you use a jar and just a little water. What I do is scrunch or twist or pleat up my silk to be dyed. In this case they are all about 2 feet wide and 8 feet long. Then you pack it into the bottom of a jar that is big enough to hold the silk and the dye (1/2 a cup) and the fixative (1/4-1/2 cup).  It is important that it be a snug fit for this method to work.

I mix up 2 colours of MX dye in 1/4 cup of room temperature water. Pour them over the silk in the jar one at a time making sure they silk is covers with liquid. If it floats as you can see a couple of my jars did you need to carefully weight them down with something non metal. Metal will effect the dye. Once the dye is in the jar you don’t want to disturb them. You don’t want the dyes to mix completely and give you a solid colour.

dye in jars

I am very impatient. So I usually go do something else for 20 min to an hour then I come back and add the fixative. With MX dye you have to raise the PH to get the dye to stick. The cheapest thing for this is PH up from the pool store.  You can use washing soda( not bicarbonate of soda) or order it from your dye supplier but pool chemical is cheap especially at the end of the season. I add a tablespoon for each cup of water including the mix water. Stir to dissolve and then pour it into the jar.  You should leave it for an hour to react but I am impatient as I said and usually dump everything out after about 20 min. Rinse the silk in cold water then hot soapy water then one more cold. Here are some results.

I am sorry the pictures aren’t better but the wind wouldn’t cooperate.  They were dry in about 10 min. If you want really good detailed instructions I would read about it on Paula Burch’s site.

Experiment in Dryer Felting

Experiment in Dryer Felting

I have been hearing about felting in your dryer all over the place.  I wouldn’t mind less time rolling my felt so I thought I better give it a try. I wanted to try some of the felt batts I made last week and wanted to try some designs for belt pouches. None of these have been ironed or blocked yet

I used batts for all of these. The orange(supposed to look like leather and does in person) one is merino I dyed and carded into a batt.  The pink is from last weeks carding of left overs. It is mostly merino with a little corriedale in it. The brown striped pouch and flat piece of felt are from last weeks left over carding as well but has a lot of different fibers with different micron counts, some dyed and some natural.

This one came out the best. It felted the most in the dryer.  It didn’t shrink much. It didn’t buckle it’s resist.

This one did the next best. The ropes attached well and it was felted but not as much as I would like.

These two were felted but not much.

For this experiment I decided to treat them all the same. I laid  the wool out around the resists, covered them with netting and rubbed them all the same. I then wrapped them around a damp towel then wrapped that in another towel and tied the bundle. I let it bump around in my dryer with no heat for 20 min then unrolled it, made sure the net wasn’t stuck and rolled them up from the other end.  I let it do another 20 min in the dryer. I took it back to my work table unwrapped them, cut out the resists and then rolled all of them 50 times  in both directions in my reed mat with a pool noodle in the middle. This was  to set the cut edge and felt them a little more.

I then fulled them as I  normally would, rinsed out all the soap and blocked them a little. I would say that over all it worked.  They are not felted enough for my liking and need more work.   The felt was not far enough along when it came out of the dryer. I normally wouldn’t has started fulling them when I did for this experiment but the idea was to eliminate the manual rolling.  I am not to happy with the pink pouch or the brown pieces. I am going to wet them again and roll them in my stick blind. Next week I will let you know how that went.

I think it definitely has potential. There are things that would make it better.  I think if the dryer didn’t have the fins in it that would be better. It would roll it more and thump(drop) it less. I see that some of the modern dryers don’t have fins.  I have plans for a roller that uses a big tube. Right now I am looking for a suitable tube. If I ever find one and get my hubby to make it I will definitely let you know.

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